National Black Cat Appreciation Day is Aug. 17, and Shana Cook of the Humane Society of Missouri wants everyone to know the truth about these unlucky felines.

Since the 1300s in Europe, black cats have been the victim of false superstitions that they carry more diseases or bring bad luck, Cook said. Even though other cultures, such as Egypt and Japan, have positive associations of the black cat, the old English myth that black cats are connected to the black plague subconsciously survives in many people’s minds.

In her eight years working for the Humane Society, Cook said she’s often seen black cats and dogs overlooked in favor of lighter-colored creatures. A 2013 study in the peer-reviewed Open Veterinary Science Journal found that black cats take two to six days longer to adopt than cats of other colors.

Not only does the stigmatization work against these animals, but they are also often harder for people to spot in the kennel. That can mean the difference between a human forming a connection.

Cook, however, didn’t have a problem forming a connection with her own black cat. Nutmeg, whom Cook lovingly refers to as a “tripod” because the cat only has three legs, has “as much personality as any other animal.”

Although Cook has had Nutmeg for seven years, many of the Humane Society’s pets — 1,700 to be exact — have found their “furever homes” just since the end of March. Working from home has given many people more free time, and the Humane Society’s online adoption process and curbside pickup make it easier to invest that free time in caring for a pet.

“We’ve had overwhelming support from the community,” Cook said.

Paw-ndering bringing home an animal of your own? Visit hsmo.org to learn about adopting, fostering or volunteering through the Humane Society of Missouri.